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When My Life Changed – My Personal Road to Damascus

Like most people, I used to read about or hear about people who have had life altering experiences.  Different types of people, from the Apostle Paul who had an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, to people I have met today who have had near death experiences.  What all these people have in common is they have experienced the unseen world in a way that changed their life.  As someone who has always been interested in the unseen or esoteric world, their experiences have always captivated me.  Then one day it happened to me.  I call this My Personal Road to Damascus.

It happened in 2007.  And in retrospect, maybe I could have seen it coming.  I knew something was going to change.  I heard a “voice” telling me that it was time I started “doing what I was meant to do”.  Although I didn’t know what it was that I was meant to do, I did know deep down inside, that I was meant to do something and I was currently far away from it.  And at the same time, I was scared because I knew it would mean leaving a lot of what I thought I knew behind.  This “voice” was not an inner voice.  It seemed more like the “burning bush” voice that spoke to Moses.  I recall  attempting to negotiate with whatever was talking to me for more time – another year or two in order to get my “house in order”.  I also knew that my request would not be granted.  That it was time.  I went about my “business” with one eye open.  Every day reluctantly hearing this “voice”.

Now by this time, I had tried every type of work available.  I had worked on Wall Street, Public Relations, Executive Recruiting, Restaurant Management, Business Management and Life Coaching.  I always felt like a square peg in a round hole.  I never fit in.  By 2007 I had become a real estate investor, flipping houses.  I was also engaged to be married at the time and my fiancé and I had opened a mortgage business.  I knew the market was going to collapse.  I felt it.  I smelled it.  The “voice” told me to get out.  I knew I had to and I knew it was too late to save much of my financial investment.  The financial strain was too heavy for my relationship and I was losing that too.

It was in 2007, when I was facing losing everything, I had My Damascus Experience.  In despair, was sitting outside  my over priced house that I purchased in 2006, reflecting on my situation.  Feeling once again like a failure and alone.  I then smelled roses.  An intoxicating whiff filled my nostrils.  Almost to the point of nausea.  It was so strong that it snapped me out of my melancholy and I started to look around for where the strong scent was coming from.  There were no flowers to be seen; no foliage for that matter.  I got up from my chair and went looking over the fence in the neighbors yard to see if I could track down the strange scent.

It was when I was peering over the neighbors fence that I heard the strong and confrontative voice of a woman.  She said, “You will not find it out there”.  In that moment, I knew she didn’t mean just the roses.  She was referring to the big “IT”.  I was scared.  The voice was so clear. I had to sit down.  As cliche as it sounds, I had one of those falling to my knees experiences.   I found myself asking, “Who are you”?  she replied, “Mary”.  With a sigh of relief I thought, “Ah, the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. How appropriate in my time of needing unconditional love and strength”.  Not that I was religious or anything but it was the first thing I could think of.  Then, the voice said in a tone with more strength and fortitude than I have every heard in my life, “No, not that Mary, the other Mary”.  I felt a tingle go down my spine and I am embarrassed now to say that my first thought was, “Oh no.  Mary Magdalene?  The prostitute?  Have I fallen so far?  Was my fiancé correct when he warned me that my yoga practice was satanic because I was worshipping animals”? (Yes, he said that).   Totally dignified, Mary had the sense to ignore me and she commanded three things of me.  She said:

1.  Know what it is to be a woman.

2.  Know what is unique about the feminine.

3.  Get into your body.

I was stunned.  So stunned and confronted that my fear disappeared.  What was she talking about?  The words were familiar but I didn’t know what she was really referring to and this confronted me.  Here I was a woman in my early 40’s and I didn’t know what she meant by woman or why she distinguished it from the feminine.  And as far as my body?  Where had I left it?  I lived in a  world of ideas and my body was merely a platform to hold my head so it was at the same level as everyone else.  This was the day I woke up.  Although it would be several years, at least five, before I had the courage to tell anyone about it.  However, the experience was the most “real” experience I had ever had and silently I followed her instruction until now, these three core directives and following her guidance has become the very fabric and foundation of my being.

Have you had a Damascus Experience?  I would love to hear about it.



  1. Lesa

    December 3, 2015 - 3:05 am

    Oh, Alison, there are so many things that came up for me when reading this post, so many different things I could comment on… my own experience hearing a powerful voice in my head that didn’t seem to be me… your journey out of a relationship that was obviously not serving you…. how all of that struggle lead you to this moment, right here and now, so as hard as it was, it was all worth it…

    But what I find that I want to share most is this: I’ve read a lot of what you have written over the last several years and this, my dear Alison, is more authentically you than any of those other pieces ever were. This path, the one you are standing on right now, will take you to all of the places you have ever wished to go… even the ones you’ve held dear to your heart, too afraid to share with anyone. Keep sharing from this place, for it is beautiful and you have a gift for making it real for the rest of us.

    I can’t wait to read more.

    • Alison McLean

      December 4, 2015 - 9:56 am

      Thank you, dear Lesa. Yes, you were there at the birth of my business so I trust your assessment. Your words give me the courage I need to share more of me and my personal journey in the hopes it will encourage others and at a minimum make them smile.

  2. Kim Shea

    December 4, 2015 - 9:42 am

    What a beautiful experience! I envy you to have that much direct guidance. I think being open to communication from other sources makes for a much richer life; it’s like having a key to a secret garden.

    • Alison McLean

      December 4, 2015 - 9:54 am

      Thank you, Kim for your thoughtful comment and reflecting to me how precious it is. There are times that I envy other people’s more linear and obvious gifts and my path seems strange and lonely. You have given me a great gift today. Again, thank you!

  3. Elizabeth Madsen

    December 30, 2015 - 1:18 am

    I am shocked I don’t know what to say. This goes against everything I thought and believed in. Yes Alison I do need to have you explain this to me. Now I understand why we need to talk to each other. Love Mom Madsen

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